Nastri v. Dykes Dismissed: What Happened And What’s Next?

As many of you may be aware, Atkinson Law proudly represents David Nastri – a Cheshire attorney and financial advisor – in a challenge to Connecticut’s ban on carrying handguns for self-defense in its state parks and forests. The federal district court hearing Nastri’s case entered an order dismissing the case on July 12, 2023, claiming that Nastri lacked standing to bring his claims. Atkinson Law immediately filed a notice of appeal, and it will move quickly to protect Nastri and every similarly situated Connecticut citizen’s Second Amendment rights using all legal tools at its disposal.

Attorney Cameron Atkinson explains what happened and what’s next below:

The district court dismissed Mr. Nastri’s case for an alleged lack of standing. In doing so, it disregarded multiple U.S. Supreme Court and federal appellate precedents and invented an unprecedented legal fiction to avoid reaching the true Second Amendment issues, which would have spelled the end of Connecticut’s unconstitutional law. We have already filed our notice of appeal, and we will seek speedy review from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. If the Second Circuit forces us to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, we will.

We view the district court’s decision as legally and logically unsustainable, and, at times, it opens fire on its own reasoning. In sum, the district court ruled that Mr. Nastri had not shown that he faced a credible threat of prosecution because he could not identify any instances where someone had been charged for violating Connecticut’s prohibition and because the director of Connecticut’s environmental police testified that he does not have the staff to universally enforce the law across Connecticut. The district court acknowledged that the same director testified that, if he or his officers caught someone like Nastri in a state park or forest with a handgun, they would prosecute him for violating the law though. He also testified that any Connecticut police officer could prosecute someone like Nastri for violating the prohibition. Thus, under well-established Supreme Court precedent, Nastri more than established standing (the legal right) to bring his lawsuit.

We will have plenty to say about the district court’s decision in front of the Second Circuit. Its invocation of a “moribund law” exception to traditional standing principles has never been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court.

As of now, we are currently evaluating our options for seeking emergency relief pending the resolution of Nastri’s appeal.

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